Tomato prices in August reached an all-time high, according to the latest data from Stats NZ.
Prices rose 38 percent, to a weighted average of $13.65 per kilo.
The high prices were attributed to a shortage that came as a result of the first COVID-19 lockdown.
"About 40–50 percent of tomatoes are sold to independent grocers, cafes, and restaurants, which were unable to open during COVID alert levels 3 and 4 in April," Stats NZ consumer prices manager Nicola Growden said on Friday.
"Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, many growers delayed or reduced replanting tomato crops at this time."
Growden said tomato prices follow a "very seasonal pattern", and peak in August.
"This peak has been generally trending downwards, but this year tomato prices have climbed to a new high."
Other contributing factors were a rise in prices for both the emissions trading scheme and natural gases, which led to extra costs for winter tomato growers who need to heat glasshouses.
The higher price of tomatoes meant fruit and vegetables prices in August rose 3.1 percent. However, fruit and vegetable prices would be down around 0.8 percent if tomatoes were excluded, Growden said.
Overall food prices rose 0.7 percent in August.